Roster: Sean Bingnear, Dylan Harshaw, Tyler Nachbar, Colin Pollag
Playing Out Of: Ridley Park, Pennsylvania
2018 MAW Record: 5-5
Signature Wins: vs. Lemon Heads 8-1 (8/4)
Versus Championship Tournament Teams: 3-4
First Game: vs. York Yaks
Why They Will Win It All: No team in the field can match the Longballs’ pitching depth. At four pitchers deep, the Ridley Park club is well situated for a tournament that could take as many as nine games to win. This is not shallow depth, either. Sean Bingnear established himself this season as one of the game’s brightest young pitchers, if not prone to a bit of bad luck. Sean is tournament tested and gives the Longballs a true late-tournament ace that should match up well with the Robles, Sarnos, Soups, and Luticks of the world. Hard throwing lefty Tyler Nachbar was fabulous at the August 4th tournament and if healthy, forms a potent lefty-righty combo with Bingnear. Pollag has extensive experience on the carpet in RPWL and MAW. If he can harness his command, Pollag will be a weapon in the opening round. And while captain Dylan Harshaw has yet to toe the rubber in MAW, he pitched well for the Ridley Park A’s this year in league action and gives his team yet another pitching option.
If Chris Owen, Adam Milsted or Ray Lutick have an off-day on the 8th, their teams will struggle to keep runs off the board. The Longballs, however, can keep passing the baton until they find a pitcher or pitchers who can get the job done. That advantage is a potentially significant one in a Championship environment.
The Longballs' offense is nearly as deep as their pitching. Nachbar has power to spare and poses a real threat from the left side of the plate. Pollag's .467 OBP in MAW in 2018 ranks 4th among batters with at least 50 plate appearances. Bingnear's .508 OBP ranks 2nd and his .326 batting average is 6th among hitters with a minimum of 50 plate appearances. And while Harshaw might not have the numbers his teammates have, he has had success against several of the MAW playoff teams and was one of the few Ridley Park players to do any damage off Cam Farro in that league's playoffs. As a team, the Longballs gave Connor Young all he could handle in the finals of the August 4th tournament and clearly will not be intimidated by any pitcher they see on the 8th.
Why They Won’t: A side effect of having such pitching depth is that none of the Longballs have had to throw 15 or 20 innings in a single tournament this year. That’s not to say that none of them can but they are unproven in that regard. Even if the team gets quality innings and wins from the likes of Nachbar, Pollag, and Harshaw early on, eventually they will be tempted to turn to Bingnear to either avoid elimination or to attempt to pick up a first-game win in a Best of 3 series. While we know that pitchers like Soup, Sarno, Robles, and Lutick can be let lose in the semi’s and go the rest of the day, Bingnear is unproven in that regard. Historically speaking, tournaments like this are won by teams who can ride a hot pitcher for three, four, or more games down the stretch. At least on paper, the Longballs lack that type of pitcher and for that reason, their depth maybe rendered moot later in the day.